Nelson City Council’s incoming elected members’ first item of business was a briefing and bus tour of the areas of the city most impacted by the August weather event to allow them to understand the extent of the damage and the job ahead.

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says he has been clear that his number one priority as Mayor is to lead the recovery effort for Nelson.  

“It is entirely appropriate that the first briefing for the new Council is on the flood and landslide damage from the August weather event. We have a massive engineering, financial and people challenge ahead in fixing the extensive damage that our new Council saw firsthand today.  

“I commend former Mayor Rachel Reese and the Nelson City Council team on the emergency response, but we need to be realistic that it is going to take years to repair the damage from this weather event. My priorities are ensuring we build back more resiliently so that we are better able to withstand the next event, we get the work done as quickly as possible and we get good value for money for the ratepayer and taxpayer.  

Mayor Nick says the initial estimations for fixing Council infrastructure are between $40m and $60m. This covers costs to repair Nelson City Council roads and infrastructure and restore Nelson’s parks so they can be used by the community again. This amount is on top of the $6m spent to date by Nelson City Council on the recovery. This is the largest repair bill for a natural disaster that Nelson has faced with the estimate for the last major event in 2011 costing Nelson $15m. 

“The scale of these costs is beyond what Nelson ratepayers can afford and we will need the support of central government. Nelson taxpayers have contributed generously in the past to significant natural disasters such as the Christchurch Earthquake. This is our rainy day and we will need Government support.  

“Nelson is grateful for the support shown during the emergency with visits from both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty and support from our local MP Rachel Boyack. 

“We have appreciated the financial support for the emergency response and Mayoral Relief Fund but will be looking for further assistance for this massive recovery bill. I will be furthering the discussion with Emergency Management Minister McAnulty when he visits Nelson again next Thursday.”